In Pénestin, France, from 23rd to 28th of June, a training course “Structure of Activism”, the IYNF’s second training course of this year’s activities, was taken place. It was carried out at a naturefriend house Le Loguy, standing very before the Atlantic Ocean.
About 25 participants gathered from all over Europe, furthermore one participant from Georgia and two from Senegal. When we began arriving at the house, some of us threw our bags on the bed in a room, and some pitched their tents in the yard of the Le Loguy. Some of the activities were taken place in the activity room, some were conducted in the yard under the sky. Some of the participants for this training, including myself, Sara Muçaj, and Sara Nicolini from GIAN-Giò have participated in the first training of this year “Patterns of Activism” in Riga in March, bringing in the continuity for the sequence of the trainings, yet some were new faces for the IYNF events, contributing fresh energy in the activities. Some fellow young naturefriends shared their current activism and projects to the whole group, and we all learned from each other.
It was surely nice input of personal experiences of activism when one participant arrived at the training directly coming from the protest camp at the Garzweiler open-pit coal mine in the Rhineland, Germany, shraring with us her experiences of the direct action of the environmental alliance protest group “Ende Gelände” (“Here and No Further”).
Thus, the group was consist of young activists eager to share and learn from each other. The week offered a nice set of activities during the days and nights facilitated by our trainers.
I could feel that intimacy among the group increased as time went by. On the second day after the role play activity, one of our trainer told us to shake our arms and legs before the following activity. I thought that it was a marvelous facilitation. The storyline we had developed in our role play had been so creative that it ended up triggered further discussions among the participants even during the coffee break afterwards. Shaking arms and legs in a circle together reminded us timely of the need to get rid of the roles from the previous session and to delve deeper into the new learning process.
The coffee breaks were filled with conversations among participants. Once, also in the second day, Some of those conversations were dragged over to the following activity when the trainers rang the bell for the call of gathering. One of the trainer began talking, but still the voices of some participants hovered in our circle. Another trainer spoke up immediately in a different tone of the voice that he had been using until then. It served a purpose of letting us know that the lack of the respect in such way in the activity was intolerable. It was also perceivable that the team spirits that the trainers shared and the way they developed their respect among themselves were gradually carried over to us.
The collective respect and the gratitude toward each other were pronounced vividly in the ending session of the last day. Under the clear sky, we sat in a circle in the yard and shared our reflection of the whole training. It was a warm and safe circle we have created for each other.
It was a special training because we were far away from any towns so that, instead, we went for a walk to the beach and sat under the trees in our free time.
It was a special training because the IYNF funded some projects we have created during the week so that we will work together and polish them in the phase of “Seed of Activism”, the period of time that now until the next training of the sequence, “Fruit of Activism” in Belgium in November.
It was a special training because we encountered the “Blue tears” phenomenon in the ocean, where the bioluminescent planktons lighten up in the water at night so that we could paint stars in the ocean and in the sky.
I would like to express my gratitude to the naturefriends of Le Loguy for their hospitality, to Nicolas and Henrique for having fed all of us for the whole training, and to Miriam for being the liaison and the point person of the logistics, among to the trainers and the IYNF team.
Written by Mitsutake Ono